Look, I’m not unreasonable. When it was announced that there was a Ghost in the Shell English-language remake being shopped around, I made one obnoxious, guttural grunt of frustration and exasperation and then I closed my trap for good. Okay, not for good, but for the most part, I’m trying to stay positive with the whole mishigas, even with Scarlett Johansson in the lead role and a distinctly not-Japanese director behind the whole thing.
My attempts at remaining optimistic took a major hit this morning, however, when Variety announced that Steven Paul, one of the main producers behind the Ghost in the Shell remake, had optioned a major tome in the beloved Lone Wolf and Cub manga series. Whereas Ghost in the Shell has remained a manga and an anime series, which makes a live-action remake interesting in the most basic terms, Lone Wolf and Cub has already been made into a series of very good films, telling the story of the titular father and son who wander Japan in the time of the Shoguns, after the paterfamilias gives up the life of a samurai to become an assassin for hire. The manga was also the basis for a TV series.
My argument against such an idea is incredibly familiar – it’s already good; don’t ruin it – but there’s an unexpected upside to this latest pillaging of the vaults. Paul has said that he’s looking for an all-Japanese cast to play the main characters in the adaptation, which signals that he’s probably learned his lesson from the Ghost in the Shell whitewashing controversy. The film will shoot in Thailand and China throughout 2017, around the same time that Ghost in the Shell is scheduled to see release on March 31st. And though I’m not crazy about the idea of either of these properties being hulled out of their cultural and historical depth, the uniquely Japanese thematic pressure points that can be found throughout each, there’s always a chance this could turn out great, if a lot of smart decisions are made. Cross your fingers and toes, everyone.